Dear Ashford Borough Council,
The standard letter from the Department of Education states:
"The law is clear: children should live with their parents wherever possible and, when necessary, families should be given extra support to help keep them together. In most cases, support from the local authority enables any concerns to be addressed and children remain with their families."
S17 of the Children Act places a duty on Children's Services to assist families in need.
Please could you provide a year by year breakdown since 2003 of how much of your budget has been allocated for assisting families in need and give general information as to what that budget is spent on.
Please could you further provide a year by year breakdown of how much of your budget is allocated to families subject to 'care proceedings'.
Please confirm you abide by the following laws:
1. All families subject to care proceedings have had the benefit of a Residential Family Assessment before the child's permanent removal in accordance with L (A Child) and H (A Child)  EWCA Civ 213 which held:
"before removing children from their natural families and placing them for adoption with strangers the court should be astute to ensure that the case had been fully investigated and that all the relevant evidence necessary for the decision was in Place, Art 6 of the ECHR required it…..There would of course be cases in which a s38(6) assessment would be a waste of public funds: parents who had inflicted injuries on their child but had failed to acknowledge their responsibility or a woman who did not accept that a paedophile partner was a risk to the child"
2. All parents who are guilty of abusing/neglecting their children to the extent that nothing short of removal from the parents will protect the children from SIGNIFICANT HARM have been convicted of a criminal offence for abuse/neglect and have been referred to the Independent Safeguarding Authority.
Please provide a positive or negative affirmation in relation to the following statements:
3. That since removal of children from the parents no child in the care of the Local Authority has:
a. Suffered sexual abuse
b. Suffered physical abuse.
c. Suffered emotional abuse.
(In this respect data referring to convictions/complaints of misconduct of social workers/foster carers/care workers and statistics relating to child suicides/children running away would provide the relevant assertion as to whether or not children were suffering 'in care')
4. That since removal of the children from the parents no child in the care of the Local Authority has been used for medical testing or registered on any program by the NIHR, MRCN or any other medical research program without the explicit consent from the biological parent.
5. That since removal of the children from the parents the children have been raised in the same faith they would have been raised in if they had not been removed from their parents.
6. That no child has been returned to the care of the local authority post adoption.
7. That no child in the care of the Local Authority has been criminalised, ie gained a criminal record having not previously had a criminal record while in the care of their biological parents.
As a non-social care, LEA or similar authority, we do not hold the
information you have requested. Kent County Council is likely to hold
the information you have requested.
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